Affordable Flat Fee Divorce in Houston – What You Need to Know
A divorce does not always have to be very expensive. The amount of legal fees paid to an attorney is directly related to the level of agreement between the two divorcing parties. Attorneys typically bill clients by the hour. When the two parties can generally agree, the billable hours can be kept to a minimum, thereby keeping the cost of the divorce down. Agreement means that the two parties can reach agreement themselves about the interests and living arrangements of children and the division of marital property. In contested divorces, children and marital property are usually areas of debate which result in increased attorney billable hours and court time and therefore higher legal fees.
The solution is a flat fee divorce. This option is available to divorcing couples when there is an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree to the divorce and choose not to fight it. The divorce agreement would detail the living interests and child support for children and the division of marital property.
Will my case be eligible for a flat fee divorce?
This cannot be determined until more facts are gathered during the initial consultation. It can be hard to gauge whether or not the other party will remain cooperative during the divorce process. Divorce is very difficult emotionally on any human being which makes it difficult to predict how another party will react. You must be prepared that the circumstances can change if there is disagreement between you and your spouse which then changes the dynamics of your situation.
How can a lawyer offer a flat fee divorce?
Lawyers can offer flat fee divorces based on their estimates of how much time the case will take to resolve. Flat fees give the consumer more control of the divorce financially. Conversely, if the attorney knows that a divorce will only require a certain number of billable hours to resolve, then he/she is comfortable in offering the flat fee divorce option instead of the traditional retainer requirement and hourly billable rate.
What happens if there becomes disagreement between my spouse and me?
It is not uncommon for this situation to occur due to the emotional difficulty of divorce proceedings. Hopefully, the disagreement can be worked out between you and the spouse and not require the assistance of the attorney. Should the disagreement continue, then the case would no longer be a flat fee divorce and would require a retainer. The money already paid would be applied as the initial retainer. The most important thing you can do to keep the divorce costs down is to reach agreement between you and your spouse without the help of the attorney.
Can there be an uncontested divorce if there are children involved?
Yes, there can be an uncontested divorce when children are involved. Children can be the hardest thing for divorcing parties to agree upon. Agreement has to be reached on living arrangements, child support and visitation. Any one of those items by themselves is a difficult topic for any family to discuss. Negotiating and reaching agreement on these items is usually the most difficult step in divorce proceedings.
Can I be eligible for a flat fee divorce if I own a house or have a 401k?
A flat fee divorce is possible even if you own a home or have a 401k. You and your spouse will have to agree on division of all marital property including the home and 401k for there to be an uncontested divorce.